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Choosing the Best Surveil­lance System for Your Needs

airport surveillance

Wondering What is the best surveil­lance system for my home or business?” Security decisions are critical to your produc­tivity and peace of mind. When searching for or maintaining a place to set down your familial or commercial roots, one thing to always consider is, How can I protect what’s valuable to me?” A simple answer is selecting the correct video surveil­lance system for your needs. Choosing a quality video system often involves expert planning to determine the best placement of your cameras and reviewing the available options, including thermal detection, night vision, indoor/​outdoor use, and other consid­er­a­tions. It is also vital to under­stand the features of your equipment so you can feel comfortable using it when you need it. 

Video Surveil­lance is Easier-to-Use and More Acces­sible Than Ever

Like many other areas of technology, video surveil­lance technology has come a long way! Cameras used to be analog, and their resolution was dismal and grainy at best. There was no zooming in to get a clear image, no freeze-frame capability, no view of the camera from your phone, computer, or desktop monitor. Security cameras used to act as a light deterrent that could be easily foiled.

However, the security industry has seen a revolution in recent years. High defin­ition (HD) analog and fully digital Internet-protocol (IP) cameras are more affordable and more available to businesses and everyday consumers than ever before.

Fully digital or IP cameras have revolu­tionized the way video surveil­lance can be utilized. Pairing IP cameras with HD (high-defin­ition) image capacity has created a robust security solution that can be accessed at all times. Each camera becomes its own individ­ually addressed network device that you no longer need a single continuous cable from the recorder to each camera to use them, store the data, recall it as-needed, and more. This elimi­nates the threat of corroding wires, cut wires, water, or fire damage.

Now that you’ve learned about these techno­logical advances and the benefits they have, how do you determine what type of surveil­lance system you need?

Three main questions will help you answer this.

1. What are you trying to view?

Think about the places you feel are at risk. Describe them to your security expert. Are you indoors looking down a long hallway? Do you need security in an outdoor lot that needs a 360-degree view? Or perhaps you need something with a broader perspective for a short distance, such as a driveway or backyard? By explaining this to your security expert, they will be able to determine what type of cameras you need, and they will present you with a variety of great options that’ll fit your needs and budget. 

2. What kind of coverage do you want?

Are you looking to see every blind spot or around every corner? Or do you just need more basic coverage for high-traffic or main entry areas? Or perhaps you’re protecting high-value equipment and require more extreme visibility? Evalu­ating the level of security you need will help your security expert determine how many cameras will need to be installed.

3. What’s your budget?

This question can be difficult because security is often finan­cially under­valued. Many people start with a budget and allow it to dictate the type of equipment they use. With the wrong security profes­sional,’ this can be disas­trous for your level of protection. However, trusted security experts in reputable companies will take your budget and ensure you get the most bang for your buck. Do remember, though, in security you get what you pay for. You might have an idea of what you want and what you want to pay but recognize you may be off in your own evalu­a­tions. Trust your security expert. 

Here are some basic types of surveil­lance cameras:

  • Infrared (IR) surveil­lance camerasproduce high resolution color video during the day. In low light or no light condi­tions they are the preferred camera type due to their ability to illuminate” their surroundings by switching from color to black and white. An advantage of IR cameras is that they can withstand hot and cold temper­a­tures without any additional housing.
  • Dome Camerasare typically seen in commercial settings such as stores and areas with high traffic. The different styles of domes include infrared domes (which is a hybrid between a basic IR security camera and a dome camera) , indoor domes, outdoor domes, vandal proof domes, and pan tilt zoom control­lable domes. Classic smoked” dome cameras offer an additional degree of surveil­lance as friends, customers, employees, and burglars have a difficult time seeing where the lens is actually pointing. The smoked cover does not affect picture quality.
  • Pro Box Cameras can switch from color during the day to black and white in the evening or in low light condi­tions. A benefit to these cameras is that the lenses can be changed on the pro box camera based on the viewing angle and zoom that is required.
  • Pan tilt zoom cameras can be controlled through the DVR, remote viewing software, and/​or a joystick. They can go up, down, left, and right. They also have zoom capability.
  • Hidden cameras offer perhaps the highest degree of surveil­lance. If you do not want someone to know that there is a camera, use a hidden camera. Fake smoke detectors, motion detectors, clocks, sprin­klers, EXIT signs are examples of the type of hidden cameras that are used. Hidden cameras do not have infrared capabil­ities that limit their perfor­mance in low light. They also are not weath­er­proof, so they are not useful in outdoor areas. The best place to establish these cameras is areas where you benefit from people not knowing there are cameras.

Estab­lishing How You Want to Set Up Your Security System

The placement of the cameras in your surveil­lance system is very important and should be heavily thought out. Ask yourself once again, What are you trying to view, and what kind of coverage do you want?” You also need to consider the how” of placement, not just the where.” This matters because if your security system is constantly shaking from being installed on an unstable surface, your camera’s view will be blurred and rendered ineffective. Furthermore, if your camera does not have a motion detection sensor to kick it on (quality cameras do; however some dinosaurs still exist that don’t), you waste valuable storage space.

Another thing to consider is whether there are any sources of frequent motion in the camera’s field of view. Traffic on a busy street or trees blowing in the wind can set off motion detection and cause unnec­essary recording.

Ask your security expert about the masking” feature in the recorder software. And remember that even if you mask certain things for the camera to ignore, there will still be other objects like overgrown branches or a bag blowing in the wind that you cannot ignore. If any more than those random instances pop up and disturb your camera, you may have it placed in the wrong area.

Now that you’ve learned why choosing the right video surveil­lance system is important and some tips on planning how to set it up, schedule a free consul­tation with a Bates Security expert to review your options.